The Blue Swan Daily brings you a round up of the latest key hotel news from across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
- AccorHotels agrees deal with Nakheel for new PALM360 Raffles property in Dubai.
- Edinburgh to be part of Yotel’s move into European city hotels.
- Travel buyers are increasingly looking to serviced apartment providers to drive down costs and support traveller habits.
- Travelstart acquires majority stake in SafariNow.com to grow its accommodation offering.
AccorHotels agrees deal with Nakheel for new PALM360 Raffles property in Dubai
AccorHotels, has signed a management agreement with leading Dubai-based master developer Nakheel for the expansion of AccorHotels’ luxury Raffles Hotels & Resorts brand in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two tower PALM360 will comprise of the Raffles The Palm Dubai Hotel and Raffles Residences PALM360 housed in the first beachside resort for Raffles in Dubai and the tallest structure on Palm Jumeirah. The hotel component will offer 125 hotel rooms and suites, whilst the 359 branded residences – including 16 branded penthouses that will each have their own private infinity pool, gym and cinema – will be available for purchase. At almost 260 meters high, PALM360 will offer unobstructed views of Palm Jumeirah, the spectacular Arabian Gulf coastline and Dubai skyline. Its centrepiece will be a 155 metre long sky pool, connecting the towers 170 metres above the ground. The new property joins 16 other hotels that form part of Nakheel’s USD1.3 billion hospitality expansion programme that is set to deliver close to 6,000 rooms and hotel apartments across Dubai. The first two hotels, at Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall, opened last year, with the rest under construction or development. it is due to open in 2021.
Edinburgh to be part of Yotel’s move into European city hotels
Budget hotel chain Yotel is to further broaden its city centre activities, building on the success of its YotelAir capsule concept at major airports across Europe. Boosted by its recent $250 million strategic partnership with Starwood Capital group, it will open its first hotel in Scotland, with a 280 cabin property at Erskine House on the famous Queen Street in Edinburgh. Following its successful model of integrating the elements of luxury hotels into cleverly designed spaces, the hotel will offer something to suit every budget and every traveller’s needs without compromising on comfort and convenience. The project remains in development stage but is tentatively scheduled to open in Q1 2019. It will be designed by Edinburgh-based Fletcher Joseph Architects and global interior designer, Aedas with construction by ISG. Yotel first launched its city centre offering in 2011 when it opened a property in new York. It has subsequently added hotels in Boston and Singapore and has a soon to open property in San Francisco, a London opening in 2018, and Amsterdam, Dubai and Miami properties due to open in 2019.
Travel buyers are increasingly looking to serviced apartment providers to drive down costs and support traveller habits
New research carried out by the Business Travel Show in collaboration with Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) has shown that one fifth of corporate travel buyers increased their use of serviced apartment suppliers in 2017. A similar number of buyers directed more spend to budget hotels and over a third (37%) to mid-range hotels. In contrast, 28% used five star hotels less compared to just 12% on serviced apartments. When asked why they book serviced apartments, 57% of respondents said it was because they provide value for money. This was followed by convenience, flexibility, extra space and long-term suitability. While the top five reasons remained the same as last year, their order has changed, with convenience falling from the number one spot. The poll of 243 buyers highlights that those buyers who do incorporate serviced apartments in their programmes, more are allocating a higher percentage of their budget towards them. In 2016, 7% of buyers spent between 11% and 25% of their budgets on serviced accommodation. This year, that rose to 13%, while the number of buyers spending between 26% and 50% also remaining consistent. With the demographic of travellers changing and cost becoming an increasing driver or choice, the flexibility and convenience offered by alternative accommodation is becoming a clear advantage for the serviced apartment community with more buyers now looking to alternative and budget accommodation providers and incorporating these in their travel programmes alongside more traditional four and five-star business hotels. However, there is still remains a way to go for alternative accommodation providers to be an automatic choice for travel buyers.
Travelstart acquires majority stake in SafariNow.com to grow its accommodation offering
South Africa’s online travel booking website Travelstart has bought a majority stake in Cape Town-based accommodation booking website SafariNow.com, for an undisclosed fee in a move that it hopes will fast-track the growth of its accommodation offering. Travelstart and SafariNow have become established players in Africa’s online travel booking industry. They will retain their established brands with SafariNow continuing to run as a standalone business representing accommodation across both informal (self-catering and vacation rentals) and formal (hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts) channels.